2021 Colloquiums & Seminars

Borderline personality disorder:  The role of emotions in development, presentation, and treatment

Dr. Dixon-Gordon, University of Massachusetts Amherst

November 12th, 2021 from 1:00 - 2:30pm PST via Zoom

Event Details


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition characterized by emotional instability, relationship difficulties, poor sense of self, and self-damaging behaviors. Despite the theoretical role of emotional difficulties in models in etiological models, further empirical work is needed to disentangle the role of emotions in the development and presentation of BPD. The present talk summarizes studies identifying the role of emotions in the prediction of BPD features in children and adolescents, and the influence of emotions on behavior among adults with BPD. In addition, implications for treatment of BPD are discussed.

Participants will be able to:

1.       Describe patterns of emotional responses in BPD

2.       Identify the links between emotions and other problem domains in BPD

3.       Discuss treatments for BPD


Dr. Dixon-Gordon is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Research in her lab focuses on the role of emotional processes in the development and maintenance of psychopathology, with an emphasis on borderline personality disorder (BPD). In her work, she utilizes laboratory-based methods to examine the influence of emotional processes on other domains, such as interpersonal functioning. Given the complexity of these phenomena, she employs multimethod research designs, using self-report, behavioral, biological, psychophysiological, and naturalistic assessment (i.e., ecological momentary assessment). Furthermore, she translates this basic research to applied settings, with the aim of streamlining existing treatments, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for BPD and related patholog

How do we find what we are looking for? The guided search 6.0 model

Dr. Jeremy Wolfe, Harvard Medical School

October 28th, 2021 from 12:30 - 2:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

Summary: The talk will give a tour of Guided Search 6.0 (GS6), the latest evolution of the Guided Search model of visual search. Part 1 describes The Mechanics of Search. Because we cannot recognize more than a few items at a time, selective attention is used to prioritize items for processing. Selective attention to an item allows its features to be bound together into a representation that can be matched to a target template in memory or rejected as a distractor. The binding and recognition of an attended object is modeled as a diffusion process taking > 150 msec/item. Since selection occurs more frequently than that, it follows that multiple items are undergoing recognition at the same time, though asynchronously, making GS6 a hybrid serial and parallel model. If a target is not found, search terminates when an accumulating quitting signal reaches a threshold. Part 2 elaborates on the five sources of Guidance that are combined into a spatial “priority map” to guide the deployment of attention (hence “guided search”). These are (1) top-down and (2) bottom-up feature guidance, (3) prior history (e.g. priming), (4) reward, and (5) scene syntax and semantics. In GS6, the priority map is a dynamic attentional landscape that evolves over the course of search.  In part, this is because the visual field is inhomogeneous. Finally, in Part 3, we will consider the internal representation of what we are searching for; what is often called “the search template”. That search template is really two templates: a guiding template (probably in working memory) and a target template (in long term memory). Put these pieces together and you have GS6.

A Year in Public Health: The Collision of Three Public Health Emergencies

Dr. Cornelia Wieman, MSc, MD, FRCPC

May 6th, 2021 from 10:00AM via Zoom

Event Details

The Department of Psychology’s Indigenous Reconciliation Committee will be hosting a talk by featuring Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, Dr. Cornelia (Nel) Wieman, MSc, MD, FRCPC.

Cornelia (Nel) Wieman, Anishinaabe (Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Manitoba), is the Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority and has served as the President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) since 2016. Dr. Wieman’s specializations include COVID-19 Response, Vaccine Confidence, Mental Health and Wellness, Addictions, Trauma-Informed Practice, Cannabis, Communications and Wellness Initiatives. Dr. Wieman completed her medical degree and psychiatry specialty training at McMaster University. As Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, Dr. Wieman has more than 20 years' clinical experience, working with Indigenous people in both rural/reserve and urban settings. Her previous activities include co-directing an Indigenous health research program in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and the National Network for Indigenous Mental Health Research, being Deputy Chair of Health Canada's Research Ethics Board, and serving on CIHR's Governing Council. She has also worked and taught in many academic settings, has chaired national advisory groups within First Nations Inuit Health Branch - Health Canada, and has served as a Director on many boards, including the Indspire Foundation, Pacific Blue Cross and the National Consortium on Indigenous Medical Education.

To download the powerpoint slides from the event, click here.

These materials are available for non-commercial use only. If you use of these materials for non-commercial purposes, please make sure to give proper attribution:  Wieman, C. (2021, May 6). A Year in Public Health: The Collision of Three Public Health Emergencies – the COVID-19 pandemic, the toxic drug poisoning crisis and Anti-Indigenous Racism. Public virtual lecture, Simon Fraser University, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtbDRAcuPYA


Dr. Geoff MacDonald, University of Toronto

March 26th, 2021 from 2:30PM via Zoom

Event Details

Worldwide, long-term singlehood is on the rise and understanding predictors of well-being in singlehood is becoming increasingly important. Sexual satisfaction may be a particularly important predictor given that the sexual aspects of romantic relationships are harder to replace than other aspects like emotional support. In Part 1 of my talk I will provide evidence that sexual satisfaction is an important predictor of life satisfaction and satisfaction with singlehood. In Part 2 of my talk I will provide evidence that sexual satisfaction for singles is particularly low amongst those who desire partnered sexual activities but are not experiencing them. In Part 3 of my talk I will use qualitative reports of singles’ sexual and dating lives to examine who sexually active singles are having partnered sexual experiences with. Overall, I argue that understanding long-term singlehood must involve understanding how singles resolve their sexual desires.

CSAS LECTURE Macrodosing, Micodosing, and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy: New Developments in the Psychedelic Renaissance

Dr. Zach Walsh, University of British Columbia

March 26th, 2021 from 1:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

The past decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in interest in the therapeutic application of psychedelic medicines including “classic” 5HT2A receptor agonists such as psilocybin and LSD, and associated medicines such as ketamine. This presentation will focus on research from our group examining mechanisms that might underly the actions of large (macro) doses of classic psychedelics and implications for psychedelic psychotherapy.  We will also examine new findings regarding the use of smaller (micro) doses of psychedelics for improving mental health and well- being. Finally, we will explore the use of ketamine in mental health and the potential role of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in the broader psychedelic landscape.

Zach Walsh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a Research Affiliate with the BC Centre on Substance Use, and a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the Therapeutic, Recreational, and Problematic Substance Use lab and the Problematic Substance Use clinic.  Zach is a member of the Advisory Board of MAPS Canada and a member of the International Research Society on Psychedelics. He has published and presented widely on topics related to psychedelics, cannabis, mental health and psychotherapy, and is an investigator on several ongoing studies of psychedelics and cannabis.


Risk, Manifestation and Treatment of Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Dr. Evelyn Stewart, University of British Columbia

February 25th, 2021 from 1:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

Abstract: OCD is a disabling, childhood-onset illness affecting 1-3% of the population. Known to be a complex genetic disorder, environmental and other factors have important influences on its onset and expression. In this talk, genetic, endophenotypic and neuroimaging aspects of OCD will be discussed, including a genome-wide association study and a more recent cohort study led by the presenter. Moreover, aspects of OCD manifestation will be explored, with reference to emergent findings from an international collaboration of pediatric OCD researchers. Finally, evidence-based standards of treatment for this disorder will be reviewed, in addition to novel approaches to treatment provision and family support.

Bio: Dr. S. Evelyn Stewart is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and a clinical and neuroscience researcher. She is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is the founding director of the BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) Provincial Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Program. She is also the Research Director for BCCH Child, Youth and Reproductive Mental Health program and a member of BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services. She leads the Brain, Behaviour & Development theme at the BCCH Research Institute.